The first step in changing a core belief is to actually identify the agreement. What you will find when you look at an issue is that the mental agreements usually come in bundles. When you do a thorough job of identifying the package of beliefs you are more than halfway to changing them. This task can be a little challenging in the beginning but gets easier with practice. To finish the job you add a little bit of awareness and a shift in perspective outside the belief paradigm. Of all these steps it is the shift in point of view that is the most critical, and most often overlooked. If this sounds like a difficult mind trick, don’t worry. There are some very simple practical exercises to effectively do this.
Identify the Core Belief
Identifying a core belief is like solving a mystery of the illusions in your mind. You have to follow some clues to get down to the hidden beliefs in the unconscious. Let’s use the example of fear of public speaking. Fear of public speaking isn’t a core belief. It is an emotional reaction to a belief. The thought a person has is that, “They will think I’m a stupid idiot.” This is the fear, but not the belief. Fears associated with what other people think of us are very common. This same dynamic can occur in the mind when asking for a raise, asking someone out on a date, or asking for what we want.
However the thought is not a core belief. One has to be careful here because they are often misleading. When solving a crime you follow the money. When finding core beliefs you follow the emotion. We have to keep questioning how the emotion of fear is created by the act of what someone else thinks.
If someone pointed at your hair, claimed it was green, and then started to laugh out loud at how silly you looked would you feel hurt? Probably not. (I’m assuming that your hair is a more natural color than green.) When you know your hair is not green you would know this person is just being silly, on drugs, or having problems with their vision. You know the issue is with their perception and not with you. Having someone make fun of you and laugh at you when you know it is their perception is not a problem for you. What people think of you doesn’t hurt you at all.
When you don’t believe you look foolish you are not affected by what others think. Being aware that their mental image of you is not you gives you immunity to their opinion. With this understanding it is obvious that we can not be hurt emotionally by what others think and say about us. When people think we are an idiot it doesn’t hurt at all. It only hurts if we believe we are an idiot. This is the real cause of pain that we fear behind the story of public speaking.
In essence the fear of public speaking isn't a fear of what others will think of us. It is a fear of the emotional pain that results from believing something negative about our self. What other people think would just be a trigger to activate our own negative core beliefs.
The point is that to identify our core beliefs we have to look beyond the thoughts we think.
There is one more layer here. We often don’t really know what people are thinking. We usually make the assumption about what they think about us and then believe our assumption. There are a number of other beliefs bundled in this scenario.
First Core Belief: If someone else believes we are an idiot then it is true.
Second Core Belief: We believe we are a stupid idiot.
Third Belief is a corollary of the second: If someone believes we are smart then we are smart.
This means that: Whatever someone believes about us is what we are.
Fourth False Belief is that what other people think of us can somehow hurt us emotionally.
This false assumption is what the mind uses to generate fear of emotional pain. It is not true because thoughts in another person’s head don’t determine our emotions. What we believe about ourselves determines how we feel.
The Fifth False Belief is that we can accurately read other people’s minds and know what they think about us.
These hidden assumptions are not apparent from the reaction or the thoughts. We have to get past the surface of thoughts and solve the mystery of our reaction to find the beliefs.
Free Audio: Identifying and Changing Core Beliefs mp3 26 min (Podcast #7)
Steps to Changing Core Beliefs
Notice that the package of false beliefs and assumptions above starts to seem a bit unbelievable. We couldn't possibly be what other people conceptualize in their head. We probably don't have the power to accurately read other people's mind either. When you identify the core beliefs to this detail they begin to become ridiculous. This is often the case when we expose the whole bundle of agreements in the mind. When you fully identify a set of beliefs you instinctively divest your belief in them. These shifts happens just through your expanded awareness. Just by identifying your beliefs you facilitate change in your emotions and behavior without a lot of work.
Another aspect that can make change faster is that you don’t have to change the whole bundle of agreements. Each agreement is like a link in a chain. If you just break one link then they all lose power.
Take a look at the third false belief for a moment. Our mind is quick to make this association and believe the opinions other people have about us. We often believe it without realizing it. This starts to fall apart under some scrutiny. Different people will have different opinions about us. Their opinions are mental concepts in their mind. We are not equivalent to the mental concept in another person’s mind. Some people might change their mental opinion about us during the day and yet we didn’t change. We only feel a change when we change our belief about ourselves. Someone else’s opinion is only a trigger to activate our different core beliefs. We might have an agreement buried in the mind that we are an idiot. We might also have mental agreements that we are smart. Our mind can flip back and forth between the two many times during the day, or even in an instant.
When you become aware that you are not a mental concept in somebody else's mind then the other beliefs start to fall apart as well. If you are not their mental concept then what they think doesn't matter as much and they can't hurt you emotionally. Changing your awareness of one belief affects the whole system of reactions.
Changing a core belief is surprisingly easy. You simply stop believing in them. It doesn't take much effort to not believe something. However it does take some effort to develop the awareness to identify them.
It sounds simple but does require some work. There is also one very important step in the process that is often missed. You have to change your point of view in order to change a core belief. Where you shift your point of view in your mind is critically important. Certain points of view will make it easy to dissolve a core belief and others will stop the process.
If you are judging the beliefs you find, or yourself for having them they become stuck. When in judgment you also create and believe a judgment story about your beliefs. When this happens you have built a layer of story and beliefs on top of the existing core belief. The new point of view you adopt must be free of judgment about the core beliefs you identify.
In the Self Mastery Audio Course I teach you how to identify core beliefs, change them, and how to avoid the trap of judgment as well.
Changing Core Beliefs by Shifting Point of View
Some popular self help approaches like to use affirmations. In a related article I share why self help doesn’t work very well in this area. A faster and easier way to change a belief is through shifting point of view. A new perspective allows you to have that epiphany of awareness that changes the way you see things.
Without this shift in perspective it is very difficult to change a belief. When you are within the paradigm of a false belief it appears completely true so you continue to believe in it. Like the person that believes the earth is flat. All contrary evidence is discounted until you shift your perspective. This is one of the problems with affirmations. From the point of view of our existing beliefs our affirmations look like a lie. We can end up feeling like a liar or a fraud trying to adopt new beliefs that go against our current paradigm.
A belief paradigm acts very much like a dream when you are asleep. When you are in a dream it seems completely real. You believe what is happening in the dream is really happening to you. You might feel like your life is in danger and feel the corresponding emotions of fear. But then you wake up from the dream. You begin looking at the dream from the perspective of sitting up in your bed in an awakened state. With that shift in point of view you immediately drop your fear and the notion that you are in danger. With this shift in perspective the illusion of the dream no longer has power over your mind and emotions. Changing your point of view in this way allows you to quickly change beliefs. In the Self Mastery Audio Course I share several very practical techniques for you to shift your point of view and quickly change beliefs.
This kind of paradigm shift is very powerful. Numerous people have had near death experiences that completely dissolved their fears of death and dying. This is a radical shift in point of view but illustrates my point. Real life change involves changing core beliefs. One of the fastest ways to change core beliefs is by shifting your point of view. Don't worry, my audio course approach isn't as drastic. You can have the change in your life with many small epiphanies over time without having to flat line your body on the operating table.
For a step by step practical process in identifying and changing your core beliefs listen to the sessions in the Self Mastery Audio Program. The first four audio sessions are free when you sign up. They will introduce you to some beginning steps in understanding point of view and changing core beliefs in your mind.
"The emotional reactions I use to spend days in now only last a couple hours. And some of them are getting a lot shorter than that." Holly P. in California after practicing a few sessions in the audio program.
What makes you Happy in Relationships with 12 min MP3 Audio will explain some false agreements we have about relationships.
Taking an inventory of core beliefs example.